'Miss Saigon' is technically challenging

By Jonathan King,
Published on Saturday, August 2, 2014

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Diana Huey plays Kim in

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Diana Huey plays Kim in "Miss Saigon".


The joy in Kim’s voice and on her face are evident and as she dreams of being reunited with her husband. “We might even breathe the same air tonight,” sings Kim.

Flat Rock Playhouse presents “Miss Saigon” as part of their Season of Laughter and Love. This tragic musical, adapted from Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” by the creators of “Les Miserables”, is set during the Vietnam War and tells the story of the powerful love between an American G.I. and a young Vietnamese girl.

“It’s probably the hardest show I’ve ever had to do,” said director Vincent Marini, and it’s not surprising. Between the multitude of dynamic scene changes, the complex choreography, and the breath-taking projections, “Miss Saigon” is technically challenging.

The actors have an equally tough job. “It’s a very vocally and emotionally demanding part,” Diana Huey said of her leading role. “It’s two and a half hours of singing the entire show.” Marini adds that the music “sounds very natural and intuitive, but . . . it’s actually very difficult.”

It’s fortunate, then, that many of the cast are so familiar with the show and bring so much heart to it. Huey received the Helen Hayes Award for a past performance of “Miss Saigon”, and Mel Maghuyop, who plays the slimy-yet-fun engineer, has played nearly every Asian male role in the play in his 17 productions and over 2,000 shows.

Marini has also directed this show many times. About this performance, he said, “This production is certainly a little more innovative . . . it’s a lot more personal.”

“Miss Saigon’s” impact is especially strong because the influence of the Vietnam War, which began 50 years ago, is still felt today. Mark Marvell, Flat Rock’s director of marketing and communications, said, “We’ve had nearly 200 Vietnam vets register who are coming to see (the show).”

“When you see the vets in the audience, they’re always crying,” said Marini. “It’s not because they went through that exact scenario; it’s because the emotions of the show are very accurate.”

Huey emphasizes the importance of remembering “that this really happened to people . . . and having respect for all the people that went through these experiences.”

Maghuyop compares the show to art therapy, saying of the vets he has met, “This is their first time coming to terms with the war. That’s why this show is so powerful.”

Want to go?

“Miss Saigon” runs through Aug. 24.

 Flat Rock Play House

2621 Greenville Highway

Flat Rock, N.C.

Call 828-693-0731

Buy tickets here.




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